Seven Steps to Prepare for Business Ownership

Business ownership is a journey with never-ending lessons. However, many people cut their journey short due to a lack of preparation. Here are seven steps to prepare for business ownership:

Solve the problem

In order for a business to be successful, it must solve a problem. Identify what problem your potential business solves. Make sure your product or service is a “must-have” item as opposed to a “nice to have” item.

Ask for help.

Seek mentorship from a seasoned entrepreneur in your field. Look within your own network of professionals–or even better–register for one of our Events and gain powerful connections with notable entrepreneurs in the Nashville community.  

Assess your finances.

Research shows that 42% of small businesses fail because they run out of money. Do not let that happen to you–consider your coins first! Determine how much capital you already have, how much you will need, and how you will go about obtaining the rest of it.  

If you plan to seek investor funding or financing, start writing a business plan and create a stellar pitch. Do your homework on the costs associated with your business.

Draft a business plan. 

A business plan is the strategic and comprehensive written description of what your business is all about and what will bring to the marketplace. It will help you get on the right track–financially and structurally. Consider having a second pair of (professional) eyes review your business plan before delivering it to stakeholders.

Determine your legal structure. 

The most common legal structures for a small business are:

  • sole proprietorship
  • partnership, corporation
  • “S” corporation 
  • limited liability corporation (LLC)

Consider which entity structure offers the best tax, financing, and financial benefits for you and your business. Seek the guidance of an accountant to assist you in making this important decision.

Set up your location

The location of your business is critical as it affects your costs, sales, and so much more.  Before settling down, consider these factors of the location:

  • demographics 
  • competition
  • accessibility
  • reputation and history
  • infrastructure

Assemble your team

If you’re hiring employees, start outlining all of the positions you need and the duties and responsibilities of each position. If you plan on outsourcing, draft your independent contracting agreement and start your search of qualified team members.

Embark on your business ownership journey on the right track. Schedule a consultation with the best and brightest at the Nashville Business Incubation Center today.

Five Ways to Prepare Your Business to Participate in Nashville’s Equal Business Opportunity Program

The Equal Business Opportunity (EBO) program will be live July 5, 2019. This is a historic stride as it relates to minority-owned and women-owned business participation.

The legislation will formally establish the Equal Business Opportunity program and require Metro Nashville to implement race and gender conscious subcontracting goals, based on market availability, for all public contracts. This is a major shift from the current ordinance, which allows for a race and gender-neutral subcontracting program.

Here are five steps you must take to maximize your participation in the very first business equity package that will absolutely benefit small businesses owned by ethnic minorities and women:

Do your homework.

In order to fully understand the importance of this legislation, you have to know the history behind it. The city’s very first disparity study was completed in 1999. This was a result of advocacy streaming from many leaders in the Nashville community, such as Marilyn Robinson, president of the Nashville Minority Business Center.

Additional studies were completed and several strategic campaigns took place until Mayor Briley announced that these contracting disparities will not occur on his watch.

If this is your first-time hearing about the Equal Business Opportunity ordinance, never fear. Google is near. You can learn more about the timeline by reading news articles and visiting the official Metropolitan Government of Nashville website.

Join organizations.

Joining organizations of women and minority business owners will help you understand what the program is about and what it is not about. Your membership will introduce you to a world of discussions and perspectives that you may not have considered. Organizations that actively fight against this type of discrimination include the Nashville Minority Business Center, Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce, Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the Nashville chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Get connected digitally.

Staying connected on social media and subscribing to newsletters will help you remain updated on this iconic legislation. You will also be invited to community meetings where you can learn more about how you can participate.

Try connecting with the Metro Nashville Office of Women and Minority Business Assistance, the Nashville Business Incubation Center (of course!) and other business development organizations to gain more insight.

Find a mentor.

Many of our alumni have had success in the public contracting process. If you’re wondering how the process works or what you should expect, try reaching out to business owners who’ve already gone through the process. Their knowledge and resources will be invaluable to you as you begin this journey.

Apply for ELEVATE.

ELEVATE is one of our newest offerings designed to demystify the public contracting process for small business owners. We’ll offer this program in two distinct tracks – one for business owners who work in professional services and one for business owners who work in construction or construction-related fields.

This offering directly prepares qualified women, veterans, and minorities to compete in the public contracting process. With our proven model, the businesses who complete this program will be well prepared to scale and procure with Metro Nashville as well as other government entities at the local, state, and federal levels.

To embark on your entrepreneurial journey, or scale your company, register today for one of our latest offerings.